From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9 Hannah, 13, has always loved watching horse races on television with her father, but when she begins to help out at a local riding stable, she discovers how much more she enjoys working with real animals, especially those who have suffered abuse. She particularly loves a filly named Rega, the offspring of a Premarin mare (a pregnant horse from which urine is collected to make pharmaceuticals). When her dad returns from Iraq as an amputee suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Hannah's work at the stable not only helps her cope with the problems at home, but also leads her to equine-assisted psychotherapy and riding therapy for her troubled father. Things improve, but Hannah will need all her strength to make a difficult decision when Rega suffers a terrible injury. Like Rorby's Hurt Go Happy
(Tor, 2006), this book is laden with so many issues the problems of returning vets, various and horrifying types of abuse of horses, humane Parelli horse training methods that they nearly overwhelm the story, and the horse/human amputee metaphor becomes heavy-handed. However, this novel really shines in showing how horses can help troubled humans heal their physical and emotional wounds. There's plenty of fodder here for spirited book discussions. Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
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Hannah visits the horses up the road for the pleasure of their company and to escape the pain of her mother’s death, the demands of stepmom Sondra, and the fear resulting from her dad’s deployment in Iraq. When he comes home missing a leg and plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder, Hannah longs for the old days when they shared a love of horses and a keen interest in famous racehorses. She works with adult friends in the equestrian community—horse-rescue activists—to get him help through a therapeutic riding program and keep their life together. Although the enormity of loss resting on young Hannah’s shoulders spurs her to heroic achievement on behalf of her father, she still comes across as a believable teen. As a backdrop to the story, Rorby has interwoven a good deal of disturbing information about animal cruelty. Horse lovers and most others will saddle up right away with this poignant tale. Grades 7-10. --Anne OMalley